United Club℠ Infinite Card
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Frequent travelers loyal to United Airlines should consider the United Club℠ Infinite Card from Chase. The card’s premium travel perks focus on an improved airline experience and include expedited airport entry for peace of mind and complimentary (normally costly) United Club airport lounge access.
However, the Club Infinite card’s steep $525 annual fee and relatively low rewards rates might be tough to swallow for those that are focused on rewards over travel perks or budget-conscious cardholders who aren’t staunch loyalists. In that case, one of the less expensive United Airlines cards might be the wiser option.
Still, the laundry list of ways to save on flights with United along with numerous travel and shopping protections provide plenty of value for frequent travelers who should have no problem offsetting the annual fee. In fact, the sheer airline savings make the United Club Infinite one of the best cards for checked baggage—as long as you don’t mind committing to United Airlines, of course.
Generous welcome offer
4X miles on United Airlines purchases
Worldwide United Airlines and Star Alliance airport lounge access
Free checked bags on United-operated flights
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
25 percent back on purchases made on United-operated flights using your Club Infinite Card
No 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases or balance transfers
$525 annual fee
Requires very good to excellent credit to qualify
New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Though this is a 20,000-mile drop from the card's last bonus, it's still a very valuable offer, worth about $880 based on the Bankrate’s latest airline mile valuations, which give United miles a value of 1.1 cents per mile on average. This bonus beats out welcome offers from many premium travel cards, especially airline cards. However, you have to consider the value of flexible rewards that can be used effectively outside United Airlines as well.
The United Club Infinite Card is an airline rewards credit card that earns miles you can redeem through the United MileagePlus program for things like travel, dining, entertainment, gift cards and more. Your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open.
You’ll earn unlimited 4X miles for all United Airlines travel purchases, including:
You’ll also earn 2X miles on:
All other purchases will earn 1X miles.
Unfortunately, these rewards rates aren’t very strong compared to other travel cards in the United Club infinite card’s price range—or even its sibling cards. Based on an estimated $15,900 yearly spend and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data, the average cardholder may only earn about $314 in rewards value each year with the United Club Infinite.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card rakes in an average of about $510 in rewards on the same spend on a $550 annual fee. Meanwhile, the United Quest℠ Card almost matches United’s flagship card with about $314 in rewards each year on the same budget at less than half the annual fee ($250). This means that if you’re not planning to make the most of the United Club Infinite’s other features, one of its less-expensive siblings may be the better choice.
You can redeem your earned miles through the United MileagePlus program for flights on United or with one of its Star Alliance airline partners for the best bang for your buck.
Your point values may vary, but you can also redeem miles for other things, including:
With the United Club Infinite Card, not only do you get elite United Airlines travel benefits, but you also get Chase credit card and Visa Infinite cardholder perks as well.
Taking advantage of these perks can be key to getting as much value as possible out of your card. Currently, all of the features with monetary value add up to $1,125 each year, which can more than offset the $525 annual fee (assuming two roundtrip flights with a companion per year and eligible checked baggage).
It becomes even less intimidating (and keeps your rewards in your pocket) when you consider that just two free checked bags each for you and a companion will more than recoup the card’s yearly cost across only two roundtrip flights. What’s more, taking regular advantage of the United Club lounges is also more than enough to cover the annual fee.
This yearly benefit value is even more impressive when you consider that other travel cards with an annual fee around $500 don’t even offer this much monetary value in perks alone. Although much of the value is only available through United flights, the United Club Infinite still soars above many cards built for air travel—even those that aren’t co-branded.
You‘ll automatically get United Club membership as long as you’re a cardholder. This gets you and eligible travel companions access into all United Club and Star Alliance affiliated airport lounge locations worldwide.
Without the card, United Club membership costs $650 a year.
Since the United Club Infinite is the airline’s premier credit card, it rightfully comes with several features to make flying with United a smoother experience.
The United Club Infinite also comes with yearly travel credits to help offset the annual fee.
Your United Club Infinite Card comes with multiple premier upgrades that give you access to things like:
Since the United Club Infinite card comes with the highest level of Visa benefits, it carries a rich roster of travel and shopping protections. In fact, its sought-after perks like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement and return protection (the latter of which is rare nowadays) place it among the best cards for travel insurance. Plus, you can also enjoy the added convenience of Visa Infinite’s top-of-the-line concierge service if your busy schedule could use personalized assistance to help plan out your itinerary.
The stand-out protections that you’ll probably want to make the most of include:
According to The Points Guy’s latest valuation, United miles are typically worth about 1.21 cents when redeemed for travel and less when used for non-travel expenses. When using your United miles to book flights, the MileagePlus program has two major choices than can affect your miles’ value:
You can also redeem miles for other travel (including, hotels, car rentals and more), United goods and services, merchandise and more, but you won’t get as much value out of your miles with these options.
Like many premium travel cards, the United Club Infinite Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees for purchases abroad and there are no intro APR offers. The current variable APR is 20.99 percent to 27.99 percent, which is comparable to rival cards and sits slightly above the current average credit card interest rate if you qualify for the lowest APR.
The $525 annual fee is high but comparable to the yearly fee found with many top travel cards. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue for most travelers, even if the United Club Infinite isn’t your primary rewards card. You may even be able to recoup the cost through free checked baggage and just a few other perks.
Relying on your perks can help you counter the relatively low rewards rates without eating through your bonus miles. You probably won’t want to lean solely on earning rewards to make up for the fee anyway because it would still take spending almost $904 on United purchases each month to cover the annual fee at TPG’s 1.21-cent estimated mile value.
In the experience of Bankrate contributor Erica Sandberg, also a financial specialist on our Expert Review Board, this credit card is a standout pick among jet-setting travelers that plan to take advantage of their card’s host of features—not just its rewards program.
The United Club Infinite Card is an excellent airline card for the frequent United flyer who wants to rack up rewards and enjoy a VIP airport experience.
— Erica SandbergBankrate Financial Expert Review Board member
If you’re a frequent traveler who likes premium perks and always flies United, this card might be a good option for you. But if you aren’t loyal to United, a premium travel card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express might be a better option for you because they’ll have more flexible redemption options and more rewards potential at a similar price point.
The United Club Infinite’s rich roster of travel and purchase protections and no-nonsense United-centric benefits don’t require you to depend on an eclectic variety of other features (like the Platinum Card’s annual credits that cover select streaming services, Uber and fitness programs) or require you to use the issuer’s redemption portal (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve) to make the most of your card.
The United Club Infinite does have a weaker rewards potential than these two heavy-hitting competitors, but it offers plenty of value if you’re loyal to United and care more about saving on travel conveniences. However, if you’re dead-set on a United Airlines card and you’re focused on reward travel rather than the journey’s comfort, a lower-priced United card like the United Quest is likely your best alternative.
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To maximize your rewards earnings, consider pairing a complementary low-cost rewards card with the Club Infinite card. For example, a no-annual-fee cash-back card that offers rewards in one of your biggest spending categories—such as grocery or gas station purchases—could be a great fit.
One popular card is the Citi® Double Cash Card which earns a flat cash-back rate of up to 2 percent back on all purchases (1 percent when you buy and 1 percent as you pay off purchases).
However, a lower-cost general-purpose travel card that can transfer its rewards to the United MileagePlus for spending outside United could be a great partner as well. For instance, Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines’ rewards program.
If you’re looking to maximize rewards on all your travel needs, the Club Infinite card probably won’t be your first choice. However, frequent United Airlines flyers that prioritize speedy and smooth airport trips with a few checked bags in tow will likely find the Club Infinite’s annual fee less intimidating than it looks on paper.
Its rewards rates are underwhelming compared to rival cards’ in its class and even its less-expensive sibling cards. However, those planning to stack on rewards modifiers with Premier status can help close the gap considering the United Club Infinite’s—which help make it perhaps the best United card for loyalists and perhaps the best airline card for checked bags.
The information about the United Club℠ Infinite Card and United Quest℠ Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.
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